Owen F. Dudley
MAY as well state that this article on the world crisis will contain no soft sayings, but hard facts.
1 believe that so far as human ,endeavour is t.-oncerned, and what' ever the Governments may do, this world is now set on a,. course from which of itself it is unable to veer; its own efforts can no longer serve. The world's leaders no longer lead, but rather are at the mercy of events, amidst a chaos of conflicting ideologies. philosophies, political and economic policies, rendering concerted constructive effort unachievable. U.N.O. is failing tragically to achieve its end-the International ordering of the world.
The world appears to have lost its raison d'itre, in failing to fulfil the purpose of its creation. Created by God to serve „Him, humanity is now serving itsdlf, disowning for practical purposes both the origin and motive of its being, apparently unaware that the world is God's, or that its affairs are even His concern.
There will be no international 'order worth the while, no leadership worth the name, no assertion of the essential sanity of the human race, no hope of lasting peace or ending war, without God and His moral law,
The greater part of huma.nity is merely existing. Man was not made to exist, but to live; and to live means to live for God, who is Life, the Source of all life and its End. Regarded dispassionately and speculatively, there is no particular point in a world of human beings who merely exist, going on.
Whether God would keep humanity in earthly existence for the sake of a religious minority who fulfil the purpose of human life, is also a matter of speculation. We can say with confidence. however, that, given an irreligious majority, you get a preponderance of evil in the world, and the supreme evil is doing without God. The greater the amount of evil, the less of God there isin the world, and therefore the less of good. There must come a point at which evil so outweighs the good that moral rectitude no longer rules the counsels of its leaders, or controls the conduct of the masses. From then onwards, left to itself, humanity, like the Gadarene swine, must inevitably drive downwards to destruction under the impetus of the weight of its own evil.
I am inclined to think that stage has now come, and the. process of destruction begun. In the year 1944 the era of material prosperity and security came to an abrupt end. The first World War destroyed many millions. For a while there was partial reccrvery. The second World War destroyed more millions; and this time there has been no recovery. Red revolution is spreading the earth, and we are awaiting a third world war which may end what civilisation is left.
WILL GOD INTERVENE?
The writing is on the wall for all to see. '
You may say-but surely God will intervene? He could intervene, of course, and intervene forcibly to prevent universal fratricide. Whether He will is another matter. Would God intervene to save the world from the consequences of its own evil and folly? Is the world even asking Him to intervene? Why should God intervene in a world in which He is not wanted? There is. of course, nothing to prevent the world turning to God in penitence at any moment, and averting final catastrophe, though there is no sign of a penitent world so far. We come back to the religious minority-the Catholic faithful and those professing Christianity in good faith outside the Church. Would God intervene for their sake? We aresall within that solidarity which is the htfinan race, and, historically, catastrophe has always included the faithful, as witness the two recent world wars. At the prayers of the faithful God could intervene to bring the triumph of the faith out of evil, without necessarily ensuring the physical safety of the faithful, who, historically,have ever shared the common lot; He could intervene to mitigate the disaster of a further war and shorten the days of tribulation.
You ask, as so many do-Why doesn't God stop war, why doesn't He manifest His omnipotence? It is men who make war, and man's supreme natural possession is his free-Will to act as he chooses. If men choose to make war. and God chose to stop war, it would involve God destroying man's free-will, and we should become automatous instead of human beings the very essence of whose personality is freewill and responsibility, without which we should have a world of irresponsibles and God destroying man as He made him.
Man will never be relieved of his responsibility.
THE ATOM AND GOD The scientists who wrote One World or None. appeal in that remarkable book to man's responsibility for averting an atomic war, which is why the book is remarkable; hitherto science, mainly materialistic, had been only too anxious to deny free-will and therefore human responsibility. The scientists include many of those who co-operated " to produce the bomb which has fatally affected the destiny of mankind on our planet " and who openly confess the inability of science to protect humanity from the monster of its own creation, declare all Governments powerless, and leave it to " religion " to prevent an unutterably hideous prospect, envisioned in sickening detail, from becoming an actuality. A striking, if belated, acknowledgment of religion and of you and mc, the religious people of this world! They hand over the Atom to us. Very well, we hand back the Atom to Sod.
It is quite true that the rerpenslbility is ours. The question is how are we to exercise it.
Only a vast crusade of millions could have any real effect upon the world's leaders. I can imagine that were all the Catholic Hierarchies of the world to appeal simultaneously to their Governments for thes establishment. with or without Russia, of the International Order now, and with effective sanctions as advocated by our present
Pope and his predecessors„nich an appeal would receive immediate sup-. port front the men of goodwill of all nations. The effective sanctions would mean a standing army of all nations. sonic fifteen to twenty millions in all, and Russia powerless for further aggression.
There is our vastly more important supernatural responsibility; we are at war from now onwards with Red Satanism. There must be no more apologising for being Catholics. The victory that overcometh the world is our Faith. Have you a crucifix over your own front door? Outside?
AN ORDER OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED
Why not a world-wide Order of Christ Crucified? Every member of it making the intention of martyrdom? The Red hordes are already killing us that by so doing they must kill the Faith. Lives offered in advance for the Faith constitute an intpreenable fortress against which ultimately Red Satanism is powerless.
Why not pray less for our own temporal benefits and more for the big things that matter? The world's conversion, the conversion of its leaders, the conversion of Russia? Pray, kneeling before the Tabernacle. for another Pentecost of power from heaven; that Our Lady of Fatima may prevail. Pray with the thousands of religious whom the world knows not, unwearily interceding before the Throne; one with the million priests ceaselessly offering the Sacrifice of Calvary; one with the faithful of all nations serving the Saviour of mankind without thought of reward in this life; one with Our Lady of Sorrows, one with the Queen of Heaven.
The few to whom the many owe so much. Who hold the hand of God and Heaven linked withearth and the world from perishing of its folly. You and I, and the faith that moves mountains. There is no other way:
Via Cruels, Resurrectio.
Fax Christi in Rept() Christi.
Films BY Grace Conway
THE scene is the condemned cell in a French prison The priest says to the man on the way to the guillotine, " And may the Lord have mercy on your soul." The man answers: He oughL It belongs to Him." And with that note of flippancy Charles Chaplin's new film Monsieur Verdoux (NEW GALLERY AND TIVOLI) comes to a close. Earlier, Monsieur Verdoux, standing in the dock convicted of a dozen or so murders,' makes a speech about the comparative slightness of his crimes compared with the mass murder of war. And these two episodes pull the film down from " top of the class " into just a better than usual comedy, provided you can take murder in the same light-hearted way in which most people took Arsenic and Old Lace.
Chaplin has described his picture as A Comedy of Murder. Verdoux is a bank clerk who loses his job, has an invalid wife and child to keep and so he turns to " Tarrying" and murdering endowed wtdows and spinsters and piling up a far bigger account in the bank than ever he did while counting other people's money. He skips about the country with the agility and precision of a ballet dancer-and indeed, In all Chaplin's movements there is a rhythm and perfect timing which he learned in the old mummer days. Watch him lock a door; measure out a dose of poison; present a bouquet to a lady. There's a fascination in all his movements.
And is all this macabre business of murder funny? Yes. It is. For the main business is concerned with two women who, by a eurious freak of fortune, escape. Since one is Martha Raye-a comedy actress of the first water-the thrill and excitement of her narrow escapes are wildly funny. As for Chaplin himself. he remains a screen personality who will survive. But let him steer clear of phoney philosophy and propaganda speeches.
a WILDE" NOSTALGIA Oscar Wilde liked to bear himself speak so much that he made all his characters talk as he did. It took as brave a man as Sir Alexander Korda to turn one of the slightest of the plays, An Ideal Husband (CARLTON), into a film. What the screen adaptation amounts to is a string of epigrams mounted in a superb Technicolor setting with all the lavish pageantry of late Victorian London to plump out the meagre story. Paulette Goddard as the bad Mrs. Cheveley, Diana Wynyard as the horribly dull and sanctimonious Lady Chiltern, Michael Wilding as Lord Goring (the happy idler) and the other members of the highly competent company of players, keep well within the artificial framework and are presented all too frequently in outsize close-ups. One feels that the real hero and heroine of the film are Colour and Design and that the producers love them to the OM of obsession.
But to miss this film will be to miss one of the most eye-satisfying experiences of the year.
NO CHRISTMAS STORY
If you are marking down a Christmas " outing" for nieces and nephews, don't be deluded into thinking Christmas Eve (LONDON PAVILION) is for them. It is a disappointing picture and it gets an extra bad mark from me because of a man's face being bashed by a knuckle-duster in the worst Nazi tradition.
Die Regel Des Beiligen Benedikt, trans. into German with a short introduction, by Dom Eugen Pfiffner. (Einsisdens).
Another welcome production of the Abbey of Einsiedeln. 1 he translation is simple and accurate we were particularly pleased to see conversatio morum rendered by kliisterlichen Wandel-and the introduction is clear and to the point. The Printing Mid format aye beyond praise.